Pandemic led to career changes, El Paso job seekers looking for higher wages, more stability


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The number of El Pasoans on unemployment is getting lower but is fluctuating.

Back in April of 2020, the unemployment rate peaked at 14.8% and the latest report from Workforce Solutions Borderplex shows the unemployment rate is now at 7.3%. The current rate is a bit higher than the month before, according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex.

“While we’re having issues with supply chain, while were having issues with labor demands in the restaurant and hospitality industry we’re going to see that fluctuate until the economy bounces back,” said Bianca Cervantes, Communications Director at Workforce Solutions Borderplex.

Saying a recent trend is people looking for jobs in different careers than they had pre-pandemic.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in different types of jobs, not the lower-paying jobs that don’t make a living wage like restaurant, hospitality, food serving and were seeing more people start shifting to things like I said healthcare, information technology, and even human services,” said Cervantes.

El Pasoan Jesus Martinez tells KTSM 9 News that he was a fitness trainer but was out of work when gyms temporarily closed during the spread of COVID-19.

“Before the pandemic, I was a personal trainer I was working at a couple different gyms but all the gyms closed down so I lost all my clientele. So now I spent like three months without a job and I finally got a job at Stretch Zone and it’s a lot better now much more dependable,” said Jesus Martinez.

Martinez when he was a personal trainer

Martinez says he doesn’t plan to go back to being a trainer due to the uncertainty in the industry.

“Probably not back to personal training because I found out that the pandemic really kind of messes that kind of stuff up so I can’t really depend on the gyms to be opening up and closing,” said Martinez.

Another El Pasoan Arturo Gonzalez is going back to school with the hopes of going to Medical School.

Gonzalez who is going back to school

“Instead of just staying at home all day I decided hey I’m going to go back to school I’m going to be productive I’m going to do something,” said Arturo Gonzalez.

Adding that he didn’t want to work in a hospital during the pandemic but hopes that things will get better by the time he graduates.

“Since I’m a microbiologist I guess a bunch of my jobs would be in a hospital. I didn’t want to risk you know myself or my family you know going back and risking getting infected with COVID,” said Gonzalez.

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